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Ancient Egyptian Algebra

Posted 2010.08.10 21.56 in Pointless Blather

Seems that ancient Egyptians used a base-ten system, but they did not use placement and had no concept of zero.

Whereas the Babylonians, using their base-sixty system, did have both placement and zero. Very cool stuff.

The Mayans also understood zero, they used a base-twenty system along with placement.

2 plus 2 Can equal 5…

Posted 2010.06.06 17.26 in Pointless Blather

…for very large values of two.

The Truth About 2012

Posted 2009.11.03 9.44 in Music/Movies/TV, Pointless Blather

By now, you’ve probably heard about this 2012 thing. If not from something on the Discovery or History channel, then maybe from promos for the hollywood movie. On the off-chance you aren’t up to speed on the thing, here’s the short version. The Mayan civilization were very good with numbers and calendars and stuff, and their calendar showed a definite end – in other words, their calendar had a day that was the ‘last day’. Converting the Mayan calendar into our own system, the ‘last day’ translated to the Winter Solstace (December 21), 2012.

Now, the Mayans knew how long a year was with more accuracy than anyone else up until the last hundred years or so, and for whatever reason, people seem to think that this means they knew something that we don’t. In other words, since the Mayans didn’t bother to make a calendar that lasted beyond Dec. 21, 2012, that meant that the world would end that day and there was no point in having further days on the calendar.

Consequently, there’s lots of doom-and-gloom predictions.

I, however, propose a different theory.

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Stupid Math Answer

Posted 2009.04.21 9.41 in Pointless Blather

A while back I posted a Stupid Math Question which was designed to test people’s cognative abilities, comprehension, attention to detail, and above-all, the ability to see beyond the obvious. 

The post contained a lengthy set-up paragraph which was phrased in a format remeniscent of the detailed questions we used to get in math class at school; a scenario was presented, some facts provided, numbers thrown at you, then finally the actual question or equation which you were instructed to “solve”.

In my own Stupid Math Question, the actual question was was placed separate to the “informative” paragraph, the question was bold and underlined. The question was: 

Can you tell how many sidings both trains will pass before one of them must pull over so they can cross?

Read on, to discover the answer!

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Stupid Math Question

Posted 2009.04.10 11.00 in Pointless Blather

Train “A” leaves the station in Honolulu heading north-east at 125 miles per hour. Train “B” leaves Anchorage at exactly the same time, travelling south-west at 150 miles per hour. The two trains are on the same single-track line, but this track has sidings every 250 miles to allow trains to pass. The crew of train “A” has been drinking heavily, while the crew of train “B” has not slept in two days.

Can you tell how many sidings both trains will pass before one of them must pull over so they can cross?

Use the comments section to answer. Answers must be phrased in the form of an answer.

Uh-Oh…

Posted 2008.08.13 0.00 in Pointless Blather

Divide by zero